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Haas F1 Team

Haas drivers back 'refreshing' Komatsu after Steiner exit

Ayao Komatsu stepped up from engineering director to become Haas Team Principal following Guenther Steiner's departure.

Ayao Komatsu
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Nico Hulkenberg feels the new direction Ayao Komatsu is taking Haas in is "refreshing" and is intrigued by some of his future plans.

Komatsu replaced Guenther Steiner as Team Principal during the winter, and has ushered in changes already, including during pre-season testing with the use of aero-rakes which are at the heart of a new engineering-led focus at the team.

The team does appear to have fixed its troubles from 2023 when the VF-23 suffered with high tyre degradation in races that limited results, with Hulkenberg working with Kevin Magnussen to bank a point in Saudi Arabia - the German's first Grand Prix point since Australia last season.

Hulkenberg feels Komatsu was handed a tough start, but he, and Magnussen, have both been energised by what the Japanese is bringing to the team in his new role.

"Obviously he didn't have to settle or get to know the team, but he's settled into his new position well," Hulkenberg told media including RacingNews365.

"He got thrown in the cold water, definitely, and there are a lot of new responsibilities and things he has to do that are new to him, but he's doing a very good job of taking it all in and looking for the fastest way to find performance.

"But then, he's got a lot of interesting and good ideas and it is quite refreshing and feels positive so far."

Whilst Magnussen was not as keen to directly compare the two team bosses, the Dane did concede that there was a "fresh outlook" at the team.

"I think it is just a very open conversation, and I don't want to compare to Guenther all the time, because that is in the past," Magnussen added.

"We're just looking ahead and I think the atmosphere in the team is very healthy at the moment, the engineers are super-motivated.

"I feel in the garage, there's a fresh outlook, a fresh start in a way and that has given everyone a bit of hope and a bit of a boost, feeling like this is a new opportunity."

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